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Erwin Smith is without a doubt one of the best characters not only in the Attack on Titan manga but across all series ever created. He made a huge impact when he first appeared, and it is no surprise that he is a favorite among many fans. After all, Erwin is a complicated and mysterious character as you will see in this Erwin Smith AOT guide.
In the series, he appears to be a good person that is focused on being able to save humanity. This is seen in the actions and decisions that he makes. Contrary to this is his motivation for going outside the three walls that surround the final civilization for humanity. Erwin has the utmost desire to find out more about titans and the rest of the world. As such, he does not mind using his Survey Corps to achieve his own dreams.
Much of the fascinating aspects surrounding Erwin Smith come from Attack on Titan’s unique status in the community. It is one of the few manga and anime series where the secondary characters might be more interesting than the lead character. Don’t get us wrong, Eren Jaeger is a great character, but fans didn’t relate to him until Season 4.
On the other hand, without a doubt, the 13th commander of the Survey Corps, Erwin Smith, was a favorite among fans from the start. He is loved by many, and it makes a lot of sense why that is the case. He has solid character traits, being intelligent, calm, and, most importantly, a great leader.
Not only did he manage to leave a mark on the hearts of every member of the Survey Corps, but he also left a mark on every reader and viewer. This Erwin Smith AOT guide is going to offer up everything that you need to know about the leader of the Survey Corps.
This includes finding out more about his personality and how he behaves in the series. It also includes a history of his life, including the events prior to the manga as well as during the series. As such, some sections of this Erwin Smith AOT guide will include full spoilers for his life and the most recent status of his character, so please keep that in mind.
Bottom Line Up Front
Erwin Smith is the commander of the Survey Corps in Attack on Titan. As the leader of the group that the main heroes are part of, Erwin is an important secondary character. He is a driven and highly intelligent commander who takes his job seriously.
That said, he has his own motivations and goals that are the true driving force behind his character. Erwin will do whatever it takes to reach his dreams and will sacrifice anyone in the process. Even still, he is among the most popular and beloved Attack on Titan characters from across the series.
Who Is Erwin Smith? Why Is He So Great?
A lot of characters in Attack on Titan are incredibly well-written and unique. While all of them have their special features and personality, Erwin Smith is such a complex and interesting character that he can stand out among even these other great characters.
Ever since his first appearance in the series, he has occupied the minds of readers and viewers. Erwin has such a strong presence in every scene he is in, stealing away the audience’s attention. With each moment spent with him, we see a calm and intelligent person who excels at making hard decisions and improvising when needed.
Being the commander of the Survey Corps, he has many responsibilities that burden him. These include exploring outside the walls and searching for a way to rid the land of the awful, human-eating titans. Initially, it appears that these goals of bettering society are what always drive him to push forward. Despite failing countless times and losing numerous subordinates, he continues fighting but not for the expected reasons.
However, he keeps moving forward, driven by his own will and dreams. Ultimately, Erwin will stop at nothing to learn the truth about the world.
Here is everything that you need to know about the life of Erwin Smith. Starting from his childhood and going all the way through the most recent status of him in the series, it will cover everything. That said, this goes without saying that there are going to be lots of spoilers from here on out.
If you do not want to know too much about the decisions that Erwin makes and his involvement in events, be sure to turn away now. Otherwise, keep reading for more on the history of this beloved Attack on Titan character.
As a child, Erwin always believed that the story that he was taught was not true, and refused to believe that no one had any records of the world outside the walls. His father first thought this and Erwin soon took after his firm beliefs.
His father once shared with Erwin that he thought the king could manipulate people’s memories, which is why no one remembers the events that happened outside the walls. After sharing this idea with other kids his age, Erwin’s father was mysteriously found dead a few days later.
As he grew older, he realized that sharing how he envisioned the world with other people was too dangerous and decided to keep them to himself. As a young man, he enlisted in the training corps and after graduating, he joined the Survey Corps. He then realized that every Survey Corps member decided to join it because they wanted the best for humanity, while he only joined to chase his dreams.
This shows us that Erwin is prepared to sacrifice anything, his own life, others’ lives, as long as it brings him closer to achieving his dream, which is to know the truth.
Even though this isn’t a fantastic quality to have as a character, it makes him such a unique character, and we can’t help but cheer for him. After all, he is only human, and at our very core, we all have our dreams like Erwin, and only a few are prepared to do anything to achieve them.
The Search for the Truth
When it was revealed that Eren could turn into a titan, Erwin saw that as an opportunity. Eren noted that he had a key that led to his father’s basement. Inside of it was the answer for why all of the titans exist and about the world outside. This was the moment that Erwin had waited a lifetime for.
Because of this, during the tribunal that would determine Eren’s fate, Erwin said that he would take responsibility for Eren and use him to take back Wall Maria. To make this happen, Erwin said that Eren would serve under Levi, who is known as humanity’s strongest soldier. If need be, Levi would take care of Eren.
He then leads the 57th Expedition, where the Survey Corps would make their way to Shiganshina District to access Eren’s basement.
So, Erwin’s plans to retake Wall Maria finally began, but in the middle of that, they discovered a spy among them.
A mysterious titan appeared during the expedition and started killing the soldiers, but Erwin didn’t let that stop him from proceeding with his mission. He signaled the other squads to lure this Female Titan to the woods where he prepared a trap to restrain her.
This is one of the many times that we see Erwin make a complex but rational decision. To this end, it seems that he is putting humanity’s freedom in the first place, when in reality, he is only pursuing his dreams. Later on, Erwin and another great strategist from the Survey Corps plan to capture this Female Titan, who they now suspect is Annie Leonhart.
It wasn’t an easy operation, and while everything didn’t run smoothly, they were able to capture Annie. Still, she protected herself inside of a crystal, making it impossible for them to question her. However, this did help them realize that Eren is not the only titan shifter and that maybe Annie isn’t the only spy, either.
Later on, it is revealed that Reiner is the Armored Titan, and Berthold is the Colossal Titan. Their objective is to capture Eren. Atop of Wall Maria, Reiner, and Berthold decide that they waited long enough to capture Eren and that they won’t wait any longer.
A fight breaks out and they successfully capture Eren in the end. Upon hearing about these events, Erwin then starts a new mission to locate and save Eren. Another intelligence member of the Survey Corps, Hange, tells Erwin that Reiner and Berthold might be hiding in the forest just outside Wall Maria. While the two enemies are able to turn into titans at will, they still need to rest for a period of time.
Erwin then proceeds to lead the combined forces of the Survey and Military Corps as they search for Eren. Erwin is finally able to spot Reiner while in the Armored Titan form and proceeds to command all of his soldiers to attack to save Eren, the key to the future of humanity.
During this charge, a rogue titan appears out of nowhere and proceeds to bite off Erwin’s right arm. Even still, that doesn’t stop Erwin’s spirit, as he proceeds to shout for his soldiers to keep moving ahead. This shows that Erwin will do anything to achieve his dream. Without a doubt, this was one of the most amazing moments for both Erwin as a character and the entire series.
Crimes and His Final Mission
After the conclusion of the mission, Erwin was hospitalized. Even without his arm, he continued to serve as the commander for the Survey Corps. Soon after this, we learn his past and more about this character. At this point, Erwin joins together with Commander Pixis to plot a coup d’etat against the government.
Unfortunately, events lead to his imprisonment and scheduled execution. Before he is killed, though, the coup d’etat begins just in time as Armored and Colossal Titans attack. In the end, the king is defeated, the military takes over the nation, and the citizens widely support the changes.
The time finally comes for the mission to reclaim the outer wall city of Shiganshina, the home of Eren, Mikasa, and Armin. Prior to the beginning of the mission, Levi shows the serum that allows a person to turn into a titan. Erwin tasks Levi with keeping it safe and using it only when deemed necessary.
To this point, Erwin sees Levi as the most capable person of making that decision. Not only is he the best soldier in the Survey Corps but easily able to survive as well. In this way, Erwin thinks that Levi will live long enough to be able to use the serum at the right moment.
The goal of retaking Shiganshina is not just for the town itself but to help Eren reach the basement of his family. There, the world can find out the truth about the titans, which helps everyone and fulfills Erwin’s true goal.
Despite warnings from Levi to stay behind due to his recent dismemberment, Erwin leads the final mission. In the end, the mission is mostly a failure with numerous losses. This leads to a final decision where Levi pushes Erwin to sacrifice his dreams for good.
In one final ditch effort to reach the basement, Erwin gathers together the new recruits and charges forward on horses towards the titans. The Beast Titan’s rocks devastate the group’s suicide mission and Erwin is quickly left for dead.
He is found by one of the soldiers and brought to Levi. From there, Levi has the hard decision of whether to use the titan serum to bring back Erwin or Armin, both of which are dying. After fights and plenty of arguments, Levi finally decides to let Erwin rest for good and brings back Armin, instead. The commander gets an improper burial outside of a run-down house in the town.
Erwin Smith: Quotes, Personality, Appearance, and More
Erwin Smith is a tall and serious man, he is 1.88 meters tall (6’2″), and he is between 35 to 39 years old. He is also slim and seems to be a healthy person overall. He is always wearing his Survey Corps uniform and has blonde hair. Erwin has an attractive face that is sometimes marred by his typical disapproving scowl.
Erwin is, without a doubt, one of the most complex and intriguing characters in the whole series. He is a cold and strategic person, willing to make difficult choices with ease. Erwin still chases his childhood dream, even as an adult. What makes him a great leader is his ability to keep calm in challenging situations because he hears other people’s opinions and will listen to what they have to say.
At a certain point, Erwin realizes that his actions are not for the good of humanity but only for himself. However, he doesn’t see this as a problem since he would have to help humanity achieve his objective. In a moment of vulnerability, Erwin admitted to his close friend Levi that learning the truth was more important than saving humanity.
This makes him a complicated and selfish person, as we know that he is ready to sacrifice his friend’s lives and the lives of everyone to be able to achieve his dream. Erwin knew that his actions were awful and felt remorse and regret for his actions. Every person that died under his watch was hoping that their sacrifice was worth something. Even still, he continued onward toward his goal.
This regret ended up pushing Erwin to decide, for once, to put his own life on the line. He eventually chose to join his soldiers on the front line and sacrifice his life for the sake of humanity. In the end, he decided to abandon his dream to learn about the world. While that decision doesn’t erase all of his mistakes, it shows that he was ready to truly give his life up for the future of humanity.
Erwin will always be remembered as one of the most significant characters in Attack on Titan, mainly because he was a great leader and a character that was able to make the most challenging choices. And even though he would always let his soldiers give his life for him, in the end, he chose to do the same for them and dedicated his life for the good of humanity.
Erwin was a cold person, but he had a caring side deep down, and one of his soldiers, Levi, was his closest friend. We can see through their relationship that Erwin is human and can be vulnerable at times. Showing his more humane side made him an even more likable character overall for fans.
Erwin Smith has no notable powers or abilities since he is not a titan shifter. That said, there is no doubting that Erwin is the peak of a human soldier. He is one of the most intelligent and strategic characters in the series, constantly planning his next move.
He is steps ahead of the enemy and able to change his decisions on the fly. It helps, too, that he is a trained fighter and is great when it comes to fighting against titans. This nice mix of mind and strength helps him to be among the best soldiers in the known civilization.
Erwin has amazing quotes throughout the series, and it is impossible to put into words how great his speeches are. They can even make you dedicate your heart to the cause! Here are some of his most famous and memorable quotes.
It’s us who give meaning to our comrades’ lives!
They want to know what became of the hearts they gave.
My soldiers, rage! My soldiers, Scream! My soldiers, fight!
Sir, how do you know for sure there’s nobody on the other side of the walls?
This moment, this battle, humanity’s continued survival depends on it, so once more, for humanity’s sake, dedicate your hearts!
We die trusting the living who follow find meaning in our lives!
Erwin Smith is always seen as a stern and pragmatic person but he is still human in the end. So here are some fun facts about him. Hopefully, these trivia facts will help you like him even more, if that is at all possible. As a child, Erwin’s nickname was “eyebrows.” He has a song dedicated to his character, “Humanity’s Hope,” sung by his voice actor, Daisuke Ono.
He and Levi weren’t always close friends and comrades; they were once enemies. They first met when Levi tried to kill him. Erwin chose to remain single because he knew he could die anytime in battle.
Question: Why did Levi Choose To Save Armin Instead Of Erwin?
Answer: Some fans still don’t understand why Levi chose to save the life of a kid, instead of his best friend and leader. In the end, the answer is simple, in my opinion. I think that Levi knew that Erwin dreamed of wanting to understand the world and that he went through hell on Earth to try and achieve it. Levi knew that nothing was going to stop him, that many other lives would have to be sacrificed to achieve his goals, and that the burden of offering all of these lives would always haunt him. To this point, Levi decided to let his good friend finally get some rest.
In addition to this, there is the fact that Levi knew Armin and his character. Erwin had spent many years serving the Survey Corps, while Armin was young and full of hope. There are several similarities between the two, too. They both have strong hearts and strategic minds that work well under the utmost pressure. It is possible that Erwin saw Armin as the next leader for the Survey Corps who would make the right choices.
Not to mention that Erwin still held onto his dream of wanting to know the truth about the outside world. It is possible that Levi hoped that Armin would take hold of that dream and make it happen. It was a tough decision for Levi to make of who to save but it seems he made the right choice in the end.
Question: Why Did Erwin Abandon His Dream?
Answer: It is a pretty common thing in Attack on Titan to see characters sacrifice their dream for the good of humanity. In my opinion, I think that Erwin could not continue living with the weight of all the lives he sacrificed to achieve his dream. In the end, I think he decided to join his soldiers one last time and dedicate his heart and life for the sake of humanity.
To that point, did Erwin truly abandon his dream, though?
While he gave up his chance of seeing that outside world, he did not give up entirely. He entrusted his future and the fate of humanity to the next generation. Possibly in Erwin’s eyes, they were the best possible chance of finding out the truth in the end. While he would not live to see that dream come to fruition, he did, indeed, happen and because of his sacrifice no less.
Question: Who is Erwin Smith in love with?
Answer: As we mentioned in our trivia facts above, Erwin Smith chose to be a single man in the end. His life as a soldier meant that he did not have the luxury of setting down. While he could marry and have a family, he was subjecting them to his lifestyle. At any moment, he could die in battle and they would be left with nothing.
With that said, he did have a love interest canonically. It was revealed in the backstory for Erwin that he fell in love with a woman named Marie Dok. Erwin first encountered her at a bar many years ago while he was still training to be a soldier.
Over time, his feelings grew for her but Erwin’s friend, Nile Dok, fell for her as well. In the end, Erwin gave up his chance of being with her. When it came time to join the Survey Corps, he made the hard decision to pursue his passion for the truth and nothing else.
This meant leaving behind his chance of being with the woman he loved. Because of that, his friend, Nile, married Marie after joining the Military Police division. With a cushier job and less danger involved, Erwin seemingly felt satisfied knowing that she was with him.
Unfortunately, the untimely death of Nile Dok would leave Marie to be a widow raising their three children. It also means that she would have tragically become a widow no matter who she married between the two. Erwin’s love interest is last seen in the series living in Wall Rose and raising her family. As such, it does appear that she was possibly able to escape the horrifying deaths of many other citizens on the island.
This Erwin Smith AOT guide revealed everything that you needed to know about the legendary character. He is one of the most fascinating supporting cast members in the series, shining in every scene that he is in. His ultra serious personality and cool guy nature has understandably made him a fan favorite in Attack on Titan.
But Erwin Smith is far from the only character that you should know about when jumping into the Attack on Titan series. Our main guide to all of the major Attack on Titan characters is our recommendation for what you should check out next. It will allow you to find out more about the other popular characters like Levi, Mikasa, Hange, and more.